Christian display vandalized in Chicago plaza, group says

The Christian religious display apparently vandalized in Chicago's Daley Plaza
Thomas More Society via CBS Chicago

CHICAGO - A religious display set up in Chicago appears to have been vandalized on Tuesday night, according to the organization that displayed it.

An outdoor display set up by the Thomas More Society -- a not-for-profit law firm that says it aims to "restore respect in law for life, marriage, and religious liberty" -- was defaced sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, according to a statement from the organization, reports CBS Chicago.

The display, including a 19-foot-tall cross and a 10-foot tall image of Jesus, was set up April 17 and was intended to stay up for nine days as part of a "Jesus in Daley Plaza" program sponsored by the society.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the display has been an annual exhibit around Easter-time for eight years.

A spokesman for the group said the damage appeared to be done with a knife or other sharp object. He said the organization was unsure whether the alleged vandalism was caught on camera, reports the station.

"No display -- whether religious, political, or artistic -- should be destroyed by those who disagree with the message," said Jocelyn Floyd, an attorney with the society, according to the statement.

"Free speech and expression of faith is protected by the First Amendment. Destruction of others' speech is not," she said.

The Tribune reports that a lawyer for the sponsoring Thomas More Society said the display will remain up as planned until April 28.